Fire Rescue Victoria

The added dangers associated with evacuating a high-rise building mean it is critical to plan for and to know how to respond quickly and safely if there is a fire or other emergency. It is also vital to prevent a fire occurring in the first place.

      • Familiarise yourself with your building’s evacuation procedures. If you cannot find one, speak to your owner’s corporation or building management.
      • Know the sound of your building’s fire alarm and evacuation warning tones if it has them.
      • Know where the fire exits and fire stairs are located.
      • Make an escape plan with all occupants. Include an arranged safe meeting place outside the building. The building may have designated and signed Emergency Assembly Areas.
      • Inform any visitors of the escape plan.
      • Keep all firefighting equipment, such as extinguishers and fire hoses, clear of obstructions. Never store items in fire equipment cupboards.
      • Never prop or wedge open fire or smoke doors. These are designed to stop the spread of smoke and fire.
      • Do not store items in corridors or staircases as this can block escape routes and obstruct firefighters.
      • Test all smoke alarms in your apartment monthly and clean regularly with a duster or vacuum cleaner.
        Learn more about smoke alarmsExternal Link
    • If there is a fire in your apartment building:

      • Respond immediately when alerted to fire. Do not wait and see. Do not spend time collecting items or to investigate what is happening. EVERY SECOND COUNTS.
      • Stay calm and get everyone out as quickly as possible
      • Get down low and stay out of the smoke
      • If safe to do so, close all doors behind you as you leave
      • Call out to other people to alert them that there is a fire
      • Do not use lifts during a fire unless they are specifically labelled for evacuation. Use emergency exits or fire stairs
      • Get out and stay out. Never re-enter the building until advised by firefighters
      • Call 000 (triple zero) from a mobile phone or a neighbour’s phone. Ask for FIRE

      If you are trapped in your apartment:

      • Stay calm.
      • Close all doors between you and the fire and stop smoke entering your apartment.
      • Go to a safe room with a window and call 000 (triple zero). Tell the operator exactly where you are in the building. Follow their advice.
      • Go to a window and attract the attention of firefighters.
      • If you have a disability and would require assistance to evacuate the building during an emergency talk to the building manager to register a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan. (PEEP)

        • Ask if your building/floor has a safe area for people with disabilities in times of emergency
        • A fire rated stairwell may provide a safe haven until assistance arrives.
        • Set up a support network of neighbours and residents in the building.
      • The added dangers associated with evacuating a high-rise building mean it is also critical to prevent a fire occurring.

        Most high-rise building fires start because of:

        • flicked or unextinguished cigarette butts
        • unattended cooking
        • poor maintenance of appliances, and
        • storage of combustible materials on balconies.
        • Always store gas bottles outside, upright and away from sources of heat.
        • When using a barbeque maintain a safe distance of 50cm from exterior walls, anything else that could burn and any electrical ignition sources.
        • Remove rubbish, clutter and flammable items from balconies and keep furniture away from exterior walls.
        • Keep all materials including clothes at least one metre clear of air conditioner units.
        • Keep a dry powder fire extinguisher easily accessible. Use only in case of a small fire and if you feel physically and mentally able.
      • Residential fire sprinkler systems:

        • automatically activate when a fire is detected and can contain at least 90% of fires to the room of origin. They may also extinguish the fire and inhibit the production and spread of lethal smoke.
        • protect lives and reduce property damage caused by fire in residential, industrial and commercial buildings. They can reduce the cost of damage by hundreds of thousands of dollars.
        • are an added layer of protection on top of properly installed, working smoke alarms.
        • significantly extend the time available for residents to safely escape from a fire.

        This is of critical importance in today’s residential fires, where modern design, construction, furnishings and furniture mean a room can become unsafe to be in within three minutes.

        Residential Sprinkler Demonstration Video

        The National Construction Code mandates that sprinklers be fitted in all new residential (Classes 2 and 3) buildings between four storeys and 25 metres. Owners of existing buildings of this type are encouraged to consider installing sprinkler systems.

        All existing and new buildings above 25 metres, regardless of use, must have sprinklers.

        FRV supports the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition.

        For more information, visit External Link

        Living with Sprinklers

        Fire sprinklers only work when you need them. When a fire occurs only the sprinklers that reach extreme temperature will activate to spray water.

        • Teach your children that sprinklers should not be played with.
        • NEVER hang anything on the sprinklers; even temporarily.
        • Do not paint the sprinklers.
        • Don’t block the sprinklers with furniture or fabrics. Keep pictures and large furniture away from sprinklers on walls. If the spray is blocked the sprinkler cannot put out a fire.
        • Don’t bump sprinklers or exposed pipes. Be careful when you are moving large or tall items.

      Reviewed 26 September 2022

      Fire Rescue Victoria

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